Book Review-Beyond-the-Orchard

 

Beyond the Orchard 

by

Anna Romer

 

 

Beyond the Orchard by Anna Romer is set along the Great Ocean Road which, as the names suggests runs along Victoria’s South Coast between Geelong and Port Campbell, although others would have it continue much further for the tourist trade.

Back to Beyond the Orchard.  The only towns mentioned are Apollo Bay, Geelong and Ballarat, an inland gold mining town, now a city.  It is there that reality ends and fictions commences.

In 1993, our heroine, Lucy, in Beyond the Orchard is engaged to an Englishman when she returns home upon her grandfather’s death.  The story line then commences to swap between 1993 and 1930 as Lucy uncovers some secrets of her ancestors and other people who frequented Bitterwood, the ancestral home of the 1930s.

 I enjoyed the story although it was difficult, at times, to follow as an audio book.  Again I re-iterate that the narrator’s voice did not do much to help this book.  She was crisp and clear, however, a mere twenty-four hours after completing Beyond the Orchard I cannot remember one ‘character’ voice.  Therefore, as alluded to above, this made transitions between 1993 and 1930 difficult to follow, especially when driving.

I did enjoy the story (a big plus for my reading) and thought it worth three and a half stars for the story and half a star for the nearby setting.  I think Beyond the Orchard would be a better ‘read’ or if you opt for the audio version avoid driving when listening.

I think Beyond the Orchard

 Image result for Beyond the Orchard

is a

with a half star bonus for the nearby setting


Goodreads readers have rated

Beyond the Orchard

an average of 3.98 stars from 195 ratings and 67 reviews

Beyond the Orchard

can be purchased on-line at

FishpondBooktopia, and Amazon

 

Book Review-Song-of-the-Bellbirds

 

Song of the Bellbirds 

by

Anne McCullagh Rennie

Song of the Bellbirds by Sydney author, Anne McCullagh Rennie, follows the fortunes of a young Australian singer from Queensland, in her quest to become a professional opera singer.

All young Lizzie Foster wants to do is help out on the family farm and sing while doing so. However, life has other plans…for her.

Eventually she is asked to go to Vienna and study with the best of the best. It is in Vienna that she meets her one true love. After several years Lizzie returns to Australia and her home own and vows never to sing again. That is, until…..

Song of the Bellbirds has nearly an all female cast of characters…a change from the thrillers and crime genre novels I usually listen to, or read.

I thoroughly enjoyed Song of the Bellbirds and think it deserves its four star rating.

 

An enjoyable

read.  

Goodreads readers have rated

Song of the Bellbirds 

an average of 3.54 stars from 37 ratings and 4 reviews

Image result for song of the bellbirds

Song of the Bellbirds 

can be purchased on-line at 

Fishpond, Booktopia and Amazon

Read in 2017

Book Review-The-Raging-Quiet

 

The Raging Quiet

by

Sherryl Jordan

The Raging Quiet highlights the prejudices and ignorance of people when they are confronted with those who are different.  Although set in the past the concepts are equally applicable in the 21st century.

A young Marnie is spurned by her friends and relatives because of rumours relating to her morality.  After a short marriage and Marnie is left to fend for herself against the townsfolk’s prejudices in the village to which she moved.

The only friends she finds are the local priest and the mad boy.

Anymore will spoil the plot.

Enjoy a solid

read.  

Goodreads readers have rated

The Raging Quiet

an average of 4.22 stars from 3,474 ratings and 315 reviews

 

Image result for The Raging Quiet

The Raging Quiet

can be purchased on-line at 

Fishpond, and Amazon

NB: Fishpond search shows

‘Sweet Sacrament’ first

followed by ‘Raging Quiet’.

Read in 2010

Book Review-The-Monogram-Murders

 

The Monogram Murders

(A new Hercule Poirot novel)

by

Sophie Hannah

Recently I received a book for my birthday.  This book contained four novels by four authors.  One of these novels one had the words Agatha Christie emblazoned on it, although it was written by Sophie Hannah.

Having read Agatha Christie books some forty years ago I decided to take the plunge with the new Hercule Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders.

I do not remember whether I liked or disliked Agatha Christie books.  May be my subconscious has blacked out all memories of these books, if they were anything like The Monogram Murders.

Harriet Sippel, Ida Gransbury and Richard Negus were the first three victims.  Not a spoiler as they were never really in the story…just dead.   However, it was not until nearly half way through the books that they were referred to as victims or Harriet, Ida and Richard.  Prior to this point their full names were written Harriet Sippel, Ida Gransbury and Richard Negus, each time a reference was made to the murder victims.

My second grumble, and this is probably applicable to all Hercule Poirot books, is that a large portion of the of the book was devoted to Poirot explaining how he arrived at his conclusion, which had to be correct, by such things as where the word ’now’ was inserted in a conversational sentence.

My third grumble is that this novel is written, or told, as a first person account of the murders through the eyes of Edward Catchpool, a Scotland Yard detective, who was continually feeling embarrassed or made look incompetent by Poirot.

If this is Sophie Hannah’s writing style then I will avoid reading any of her other best sellers. If she has changed her style to suit Agatha Christie’s format then I think she should revert to her own style, whatever that may be. I should also state that, with few exceptions, I am generally not a fan of any book set or written about this time in history.

I have often stated that I read for enjoyment. This was not enjoyable.  I did not like the style in which it was written, nor the plot or long-winded explanation at the end.

While I acknowledge my writing abilities are not good enough to write this, or any other, book as a consumer I am allowed to express an opinion about books I read.

It is not the worst novel I have read or listened to.  At least I completed The Monogram Murders and for this reason I will give it a two star rating along with 16% of other Goodreads reviewers.

Just astars_2
read.  

Goodreads readers have rated

The Monogram Murders

an average of 3.21 stars from 9,152 ratings and 1,828 reviews

 

The Monogram Murders

The Monogram Murders

can be purchased on-line at 

FishpondBooktopia and Amazon

Book Review-The-Dead-Beat

 

The Dead Beat

by

Doug Johnstone

My first Doug Johnstone audio novel and a worthwhile listen/read at that. I have stated several times that the narrator can make or break an audio book and in this case it is the former.

Set in Scotland, the narrator’s Scottish accents are wonderful to listen to, although they may make a true Scot cringe.

The plot maybe stretched a tad.  After all it is unlikely to see a work experience staff member writing obituaries on her first day on the job at the local newspaper. However, most of my favourite fiction authors or books have plots which are  way over the top…but still entertaining.  And I found this one to be entertaining.

However, in a newspaper office is where the book began and there was enough in the first few paragraphs to whet my appetite.  The story line developed well combining mental illness, depression, suicide, murders and extramarital affairs to create an interesting read.

Normally, mental illness, and depression are not topics high on my list of ‘must reads’.  However, in this case each was not overdone, and therefore, not a detailed description of each characters illness was included.

I have rate The Dead Beat as a three star read on Goodreads.  If the option was available I would have added a half star.

Definitely, a nice quick read.

A solid
stars_3-5
read.  

Goodreads readers have rated

The Dead Beat

an average of 3.6 stars from 170 ratings and 25 reviews

 

The Dead Beat

The Dead Beat

can be purchased on-line at 

FishpondBooktopia and Amazon

Book Review-A-Whisper-of-Peace

 

A Whisper of Peace

(Heart of the Prairie #7)

by

Kim Vogel Sawyer

 

Set in Alaska, A Whisper of Peace, tells of the trials and tribulations faced by an American missionary and his step-sister when they try to start a Mission within an Athabascan tribal village.

Clay and Vivian must contend with Athabascan rituals and rules in a continuous battle to win over the tribe to Christianity.

One of  the rules inhibits a budding romance, although it is the connection between these two parties which brings about a peaceful resolution to one of the strictest rules.  

There was a question I  kept asking myself during this book as I felt it was pivotal to the plot and was being ignored.  Thankfully Clay’s father responded to a plea for guidance in a manner which had me nodding my head in agreement. 

A Whisper of Peace is another easy, enjoyable, read by Kim Vogel Sawyer novel.  I will go back for more.

A definite
4_stars

read.  

Goodreads readers have rated

A Whisper of Peace

an average of 3.77 stars from 462 ratings and 63 reviews

 

Image result for A Whisper of Peace

A Whisper of Peace

can be purchased on-line at 

FishpondBooktopia, and Amazon

Book Review-Conclave

 

Conclave

by

Robert Harris

 

Conclave, by Robert Harris, was recommended to me as an interesting read about the election, and selection, of a new Pope by the one hundred and eighteen cardinals eligible to vote.  In my opinion, Conclave lived up to its recommendation…and more.

Simply the process of electing a new Pope was, in itself, an interesting read.  However, combine this with the manipulation of good candidates out of contention with half-truths and innuendo left me wondering if there are any honest/clean Cardinals in the Catholic Church.

Conclave is a good easy read.  Thanks to my insomnia of late, I read Conclave in less than a week.  This, for me, is flying through a book.  A 0200 half hour reading session easily became an hour or more.  Fast readers will devour this story as it is a real page turner.

The only thing not in Conclave is straight out murder…and even that is not assured as the Pope’s death was not really explained.  And there was motive!!

One small word of warning, though.  Do not be put off by the first chapter of two as this is where all relevant characters are introduced with their long winded titles.

Whatever one’s religious background, or not, I think Conclave an excellent read.

I have place Conclave on My Favourites shelf on Goodreads.

Conclave is definitely a

5-stars

star read.  

Goodreads readers have rated 

Conclave

an average of 4.0 from 4,203 ratings and 624 reviews


Image result for conclave

Conclave

can be purchased on-line at 

Booktopia, Fishpond and Amazon